DSA 2010 Day 1 and 2

Finally getting around to posting this. Appears I took very few photos.

Friday 6/25: Today was one of the field trip days. After heading to the main hotel early and a bit of sitting around, I ended up in a car with Dan and Wally heading for the Machias River. We made a quick stop at the local Hannaford for sandwiches and then started the hour or so drive to the river.

At the river, we quickly put on wading footwear and splashed in, joining several others already there. Things were flying and I quickly netted a spiketail. It turned out to be a Twin-spotted (Cordulegaster maculata), which was new for me.

The next thing in the net turned out to be the bug of the trip. The river is known for large numbers of snaketails (Ophiogomphus), which are really cool, very green dragonflies. Many are quite hard to find (apparently they spent lots of time perching way up in the treetops and only occasionally come down to the water). Several were flying back and forth and after a few swings (very few compared to others), I caught one. Pulling it out of the net, I could see some color in the wings, which made it Pygmy (O. howei), one of the most sought-after species. At this point, I (stupidly) handed it to Nick Donnelly and let him put it away without bothering to pick up the camera. For a look at one, see Ed Lam’s report from 2007 (which is pretty similar to the meeting as a whole).

We spent several hours here and I didn’t have much more success with the snaketails. There were plenty of Brook (O. aspersus) around and others got Extra-striped (O. anomolus), Maine (O. mainensis), and Rusty (O. rupinsulensis). Other things included many River Jewelwings (Calopteryx aequibilis) and Hagen’s Bluets (Enallagma hageni).

Eventually, we moved on to another section of the river that others had raved about. It must have been time of day, as we were not impressed. There were a few Brook Snaketails around and not much else.

We started the loop back on Stud Mill Rd. Along the way, we stopped at a pond that was a known site for Little Bluet (Enallagma minisculum). It was rather nasty, full of decomposing leaves (and I was hurting from the old sneakers and all the gravel from the river), but working around the edge we quickly found a large number of bluets, most of which appeared to be Little. We also had a few skimmers and a baskettail here.




Further down Stud Mill Rd (wish I remembered where, I wasn’t driving or navigating), we pulled off at a bog. Lots of Sphagnum Sprites (Nehallenia gracilis) and Four-spotted Skimmers (Libellula quadrimaculata) were around along with a few whitefaces (Leucorrhinia sp). There were apparently some Elfin Skimmers (Nannothemis bella) out in the bog, which we didn’t bother plunging in for (thankfully Bryan brought one out). Bog Coppers were visible as well, a new butterfly for me.

Along the road, others caught a couple Emeralds that turned out to be Delicate (Somatochlora franklinii). This was one of Dan’s targets for the trip, so we spent some time looking for more. I’m pretty sure I had a couple flying but they eluded capture.

We eventually continued on, trying to find another boggy spot. Unfortunately, it was not as accessible from the road as it appeared on the map (others did bushwhack straight downhill) so we never really found it. We did stop at a stream crossing, which didn’t have a ton of dragonflies but did have Pink-edged Sulphurs and Two-spotted Skipper.

Two Spot


Stud Mill Rd ends up back near Orono, so we returned to the hotel. Most people went to Governor’s for dinner. Wally and I joined them, but lucked into our own table, so we got served in half the time. The fried fish was excellent (and cheap).

Saturday 6/26: Today was the meeting day. It was held right up the street from my hotel, so I walked over. At this point, I barely remember the talks, but they were pretty much all enjoyable. I joined some of the Massachusetts crowd and the Hummels for lunch at some pizza place, where the eggplant parm sub was fair.

After the meeting, we had a cookout at the nearby Hirundo wildlife refuge and took the photo. After the photo, people began splitting up to go look for shadowdragons (Neurocordulia). I (and Josh and eventually Glenn) ended up following Steve and Cliff to a nearby river crossing. We found one exuvia (anyone ever ID it) and eventually had a few fly by. Cliff or Steve managed to catch one, which turned out to be an Umber (N. obsoleta). Fortunately, it was dark enough that even with totally wrong camera settings I couldn’t screw up. After being eaten alive by mosquitos, we let the shadowdragon go and went back to the hotel.